The Namesake Essay

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In the Film The Namesake, Gogol’s life was center stage. Nair shows the struggles Gogol fights with throughout the film and how he finally came to terms and balanced both cultures. The film starts with Ashoke and Ashima’s younger years and marriage however, it soon revolves around Gogol and how he wrestles with who he is and where he fits in America and India. As Nair illustrates, when Gogol first begins school he will not respond to the name Nikhil and requests he is called Gogol. At this early age, Gogol does not understand his Bengali heritage gives a pet name and a good name. Ashima reads the note from the teacher with Gogol’s preference of name and later talks to Ashoke about how children decide what they want in America. Ashoke validates this behavior with stating that in a place where the President is called Jimmy anything goes. As Gogol matures he also finds a dislike for his name. He is learning in school about the writer in which he was named after, Nikolai Gogol. Gogol went home and confronted his parents about the horrible things he learned about the author and demanded an answer if they knew about them when he was named. Ashoke calming assured Gogol that he was named after the author because Nikolai was a brilliant writer. Ashima chimed in that she and Gogol’s father tried to give him his good name when he started school, yet Gogol refused. Gogol blasted back with the fact that he was only 5 years old and did not understand. Gogol began to contemplate changing his first name to Nikhil. One night at dinner Gogol broaches the subject of legally becoming Nikhil and Ashima said what is done is done and waved off the idea. Ashoke stayed at the table to discuss the option and told Gogol to do as he wants. Nair takes the viewers through Gogol’s trials and tribulations of his relationships with his family, and several girlfriends. During High School

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